Super Bowl XXXVIII — Panthers and Patriots

By Ron Griffitts
Contributing Columnist

Super Bowl XXXVIII took place on Feb. 1, 2004, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, between the New England Patriots 16-2 coached by Bill Belichick and the Carolina Panthers 14-5 coached by John Fox.

Belichick’s offensive coordinator was Charlie Weiss, his defensive coordinator was Romeo Crennel and the Patriots were led on offense by quarterback Tom Brady who passed for 3,620 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The leading rushers were Antowain Smith (642 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Kevin Faulk (638 yards) while the leading receivers were Deion Branch (803 yards, 3 TDs), David Givens (510 yards, 6 TDs) and Troy Brown (472 yards, 4 TDs).

Their place kicker was Adam Vinatieri, who made 25 of 34 field goal attempts.

Their defense was anchored by Rodney Harrison (125 combined tackles, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions), Tedy Bruschi (133 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions), and Ty Law and Tyrone Poole both with 6 interceptions.

John Fox’s offensive coordinator was Dan Henning, his defensive coordinator was Mike Trgovac and the team was led on offense by quarterback Jake Delhomme (3,219 passing yards, 19 TDs), running back Stephen Davis (1,444 yards, 8 TDs), and receivers Steve Smith (1,110 yards, 7 TDs) and Muhsin Muhammad (837 yards, 3 TDs).

The field goal kicker was John Kasay, who made 32 out of 38 field goal tries.

The defense was led by Mike Minter (97 combined tackles, 3 interceptions), Will Witherspoon (99 combined tackles) and Mike Rucker with 12 sacks.

The first quarter was scoreless and with 3:10 left in the second quarter Tom Brady found Deion Branch for a five-yard touchdown play for a 7-0 Patriots lead. With 1:07 remaning in the half, Steve Smith caught a 39-yard pass from Jake Delhomme to tie the score at 7-7.

But the first half scoring wasn’t over as with 23 seconds left on the clock the Patriots added another touchdown on a pass from Brady to David Givens for a five-yard scoring play; and with five seconds left on the clock, John Kasay kicked a 50-yard field goal to make the score 14-10 Patriots at the half as all 24 points were scored in the last three minutes and 10 seconds of the half.

The third quarter was scoreless but early in the fourth quarter Antowain Smith rushed for a two-yard touchdown which was set up by a 33-yard completion from Brady to Daniel Graham to make the score 21-10 in favor of the Patriots.

The Panthers answered with DeShaun Foster’s 33-yard touchdown run for a score but did not convert the two-point conversion and the score was 21-16. With 7:06 left in the game, Delhomme completed an 85-yard pass to Muhsin Mahammad and again they did not convert the two-point conversion to make the score 22-21 in favor of Carolina.

With 2:55 left in the game Brady found Tom Vrabel for a one-yard TD and Kevin Faulk converted the two-point conversion to make the score 29-22.

The Panthers countered with a 12-yard scoring play from Delhomme to Ricky Proehl with 1:33 left in the game and kicked the extra point and the score was tied 29-29.

Tom Brady however completed five passes in that 1:33 to get to the Carolina 23-yard line from which with four seconds left on the clock Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal for the Patriots’ win.

Tom Brady won his second Super Bowl MVP and the Patriots returned the next year to the Super Bowl while the Carolina Panthers were back in 2016.

Among John Fox’s assistant Mike McCoy would go on to be the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Statistics for this article came from football-reference.com.

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.